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Digital Food Scales

If you are running a food market or deli, having a state of the art digital food scale is pretty much a given. In choosing a scale, there are several things to keep in mind:

  • The scale should have a “tare” feature. By “taring” you remove the weight of the container from the total weight charged to the customer. On standard digital scales, you first put the empty container on the scale, then press a tare button. This will weigh the container, then reset the scale to zero. When you remove the container, fill it, and put it back on the scale, the display will subtract the container’s weight from the total.
  • The ambient temperature can affect the reading on a scale, an effect called sensitivity drift. Be sure that the scale can adjust (or be adjusted) to give accurate readings as the warmth of your store fluctuates. Similarly, be sure that the scale is certified to be accurate within the temperature ranges at which it will be operating. For an extreme example, if you will have an outdoor sales counter in Fairbanks, Alaska in the winter, be sure that the scale will function properly at minus whatever degrees.
  • Pay close attention to the weighing capacity of the scale, which is the maximum reading that it can deliver. Depending on what you expect to sell, and in what increments, this is a key consideration.
  • When testing a new scale, use a test weight equal to its weighing capacity. Determine that the scale gives consistent results.
  • If you will be selling by metric weights (grams), be sure that the scale can be set for such measurement as well as for ounces and pounds.
  • An important feature of digital scales is ease and speed of programming the price of an item, by pound, ounce, kilogram, or gram. See that this is indeed quick and easy.
  • A digital scale that automatically prints price labels (with or without bar codes) is a great way to speed the sales and checkout process, if your store is large and busy. This feature also can help track inventory and put a check on “shrinkage” (inventory disappearing unpaid for).

Familiarize yourself with local laws and regulations concerning retailers, including those imposed by local departments of weights and measures. These may have a direct impact on what type of digital scale will be most appropriate for you

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